Knowing when to plant in spring is half the battle of successful gardening.
Gardeners who plant too early end up with dead or damaged crops while gardeners who plant too late wait longer to get harvests.
The general rule of thumb is to plant after the last frost in your area.
Timing is important and the best way to get the timing down is by combining research and experimentation.
Keep accurate notes of both successes and failures so you know what actually works in your garden.
In no time at all you will have a gardening calendar that will allow you to plant ahead of schedule and harvest earlier than what you thought possible.
Use Cold Frames When You Plant In Spring
The use of cold frames or tunnel houses will let you get an earlier start on the growing season.
Cold frames or tunnel houses do not need to be fancy.
It is possible to make these items out of wood, straw, glass or plastic.
What is needed is an enclosed frame such as four bales of straw put together to make a square with an opening in the center and a way to cover the frame.
An old window laid on top of the straw or even 6 mil. plastic framed with wood.
Use Frost Cover When You Plant In Spring
Frost cover can be used alone or inside of cold frames to add an extra layer of protection for the plants.
The trick with frost cover is to make sure it is suspended above the plants.
Water rises in the day, then drops back down and falls onto the frost cover at night as temperatures cool.
If the frost cover touches the plants, it will cause damage to occur to the plants.
Remember it is moist inside of these structures and the moisture will freeze if the temperatures get cold enough.
Frost cover does allow water to go through it and fall onto the plants, however some moisture may remain on the frost cover causing it to freeze.
The frost cover freezing on the plant foliage is what causes damage to the plants in the event the frost cover is allowed to touch them.
Gardeners who start with seeds should set up the frost cover as if the plants were already in place to offer the ultimate in protection to young germinating seedlings.
Plant In Spring For Early Season Vegetables
Once your gardening supplies are ready to go and the ground is prepared, the next step is to know when to plant in the spring.
Early bird gardeners who do not mind working in the cold know early season vegetables can be sown as early as January 1 in USDA zone 5 and higher.
Gardeners in USDA zones 4 and lower can try to sow this early, but they may want to wait just a little longer.
Early season vegetables to plant include carrots, spinach, peas, potatoes, lettuce, onions, cabbage, broccoli, kale and other cool season crops.
As March rolls around some warm season crops can be grown under cover using both cold frames or tunnel houses and frost cover.
These crops include cucumbers, tomatoes, bush beans, corn, cantaloupe, squash, eggplant and watermelon.
Armed with the knowledge of when to plant in spring as well as research gathered from year to year, gardeners will find the amount of fresh produce available to them from their garden will be much more diverse than using traditional planting schedules.